Discipline, Discrimination, and Disadvantage: New Insights into the Causes and Consequences of Inequalities in Education
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The first paper in our panel explores the role of an understudied neighborhood characteristic in shaping educational outcomes: policing tactics. While exposure to overzealous policing has been shown to be detrimental to adults’ mental health, no study has evaluated policing’s effects on children and the extent to which stress caused by policing tactics can influence educational outcomes. The authors leverage restricted, geocoded student data and variation over time within and across students’ residential neighborhoods in the use of stop, question, and frisk by the New York Police Department to estimate the extent to which stress caused by policing tactics (net of crime within a neighborhood) affects standardized test outcomes. The second paper also investigates the role of disciplinary processes on student outcomes, though focuses on practices within schools. While research has established a strong, negative relationship between out-of-school suspensions and student outcomes, we know little about potential spillover effects of suspensions on the classmates of those who are punished. The authors leverage administrative data from Philadelphia to show a strong, negative effect of suspensions on the suspended and a weaker secondary effect on their peers. The third paper also examines a potentially important pathway through which racial disparities in education are formed: parental socialization to the realities of racial discrimination. This research builds upon the previous two papers by illuminating the extent to which racialized stressors manifest as discrimination can be mitigated by family-level dynamics, which may be replicated via school-level policy implementation. Finally, the fourth paper leverages administrative and survey data to explore heterogeneity in the relationship between trajectories of disadvantage (or advantage) and school outcomes. This paper strengthens the field’s understanding of the well-established connection between socioeconomic status and educational outcomes, with important consequences for policy interventions during childhood in the home as well as in schools.
The inclusion of these four papers, each analyzing a different aspect of the educational experience, will provide policymakers with new insight into how racial inequality is shaped by various institutional and environmental factors. It will also shed light on unforeseen consequences of policy implementation among youth.